It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon for some fun outdoor activities, face painting, and a fundraising for a good cause. Merrillville Intermediate School, in partnership with S.T.A.N.D., hosted the Relay Recess Walk for its students to help raise money for the American Cancer Society with support from the Merrillville community.
Brooke Shelton-James, an English, Language Arts, and Social Studies teacher, and Shannon Hendricks, the fifth and sixth grade Title 1 teacher, lead the students through the various activities and oversaw the fundraiser.
“We are the S.T.A.N.D. sponsors for Merrillville Intermediate School,” Hendricks said. “S.T.A.N.D. stands for 'Socially Together And Naturally Diverse,' and our club is like a social outreach club and we do a lot of community service events,” she said.S.T.A.N.D. has hosted a number of events with Merrillville Intermediate School that allows students to give back to the community in rewarding ways. Students of all ages have collected more than 2,000 canned goods for local food banks and even wrote letters to the victims and survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida.
“We also did another event for the American Red Cross and we raised $2,000 during the hurricanes last fall,” Shelton-James said. “Our whole organization is all about community service and how to give back and how to help others.”
All day, students hung out at the school’s track and took part in six sessions where they completed a number of activities, like running, walking, face painting, a photo booth, and more. The Merrillville Police Department and the Fire Department made an appearance as well, providing the students some fun on the fire truck and proof of how much the community cares. Kids ran around, spent time with friends, and danced to the pop music blasting through the speakers, all while bringing more awareness to important issues and learning about what goes into helping people in need.
“I think this particular event is perfect for the community because it gives kids knowledge about what cancer is and how it can happen to anybody,” said Zaria Rock, a senior at Merrillville High School who came out to help at the Relay Recess Thursday. “It makes them more aware and it shows them what they’re really doing for the school and for their community. The students may not realize the impact they are having, but they will in the future.”
Rock was looking forward to seeing how happy the event made the students and teachers, while Ember Wolstenholme, a sixth grader at Merrillville Intermediate School, looked forward to the community support.
“I am looking forward to seeing everyone happy during the event, but I’m also looking forward to seeing everyone get together to support those with cancer and having fun while doing it,” Wolstenholme said.
For more information about Merrillville Intermediate School, please visit https://in01001403.schoolwires.net/page/398.